For the first time since the recession reared its ugly head, marketers are once again making new customer acquisition a top priority. According to the “2010 Lead Generation Optimization Key Trends Analysis” from CSO Insights and reported in eMarketer, more than 91% of companies worldwide reported increasing new customer acquisition was one of their top strategic marketing objectives for 2010. And of all the marketing channels used to generate a steady quantity and quality of leads, companies said email was their best lead generation program.
As marketers rev up their new acquisition programs, it’s important to think about the customer as more than just a number in a database. Customers are savvy and are clearly in control more than ever before. So to truly be able to penetrate a new audience, you must treat them like you would a close friend.
Every great relationship, be it with a friend, co-working or customer, is dependent on good communications and a continuous fair value exchange. Without that, someone always feels left out, abused and taken advantage of. If you don’t understand how to listen and value your friends and relationships you’ll have limited success in your personal and business endeavors. How often do you hear of people or groups of people being referred to as Readers, Customers or Consumers? Those names are a bit impersonal, but not as bad as Aggregators, Data, Leads or Screamers. How a company refers to its prospects and customers tells you lot about how those people are treated and valued. How do you like it when “that friend” (and you all have one) call you or stops by only when they want something but are never interested in returning the favor or bringing some sort of value to the table…beyond what you’d expect from an acquaintance.
We’re all somewhat dependent on each other and while developing a competitive advantage is important in business, it’s much more important to building trusting, efficient, scalable and sustainable relationships. If we pick a few important common goals, we’ll be much more aligned with our partners and that’s one of the most important competitive advantages you can have.
Remember, if you put the customer’s needs and wants first, you will generate not just a lead, but a loyal customer.